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Quote of the Day: Farmer Boy

March 10th, 2013

“A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you’re a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You’ll be free and independent, son, on a farm.”

Father to Almanzo (Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

Mr Chiots and I aren’t farmers, but we can certainly appreciate this quote and what it means.  Even gardening on a small scale can bring a sense of freedom and independence.  Here in Maine, we also heat with wood, which is a wonderful thing. There’s no paying the propane, natural gas, or heating oil bill.  The electric bill is smaller and the house is cozier.
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When you heat with wood, there’s a lot of work involved. Our splitter just arrived this week, so we’re now madly splitting wood in preparation for next winter.

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Yesterday was spent splitting a big pile of wood, today we’ll do the same.  We both work on splitting, loading and unloading the truck. These are the kinds of chores that are better when shared.  We started around noon and were able to split three truckloads.  Hopefully tomorrow we can do even more.
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It’s good to know that we’ll be warm and toasty all winter regardless of how full our propane tank is.  We really love heating with wood, there’s nothing quite like standing next to a warm wood burner on a cold winter morning. Not to mention, Dexter wouldn’t know what to do without a warm wood burner to sleep in front of!

What method of heat do you use in your house? 

Friday Favorite: Martha’s Farm

October 26th, 2012

This past week I got to spend some time touring Martha’s Farm in Ashland, Ohio. Martha has been my go-to place for chicken, turkey, eggs and vegetables for the past couple years.

Martha is a wonderful person, she’s friendly, kind and has a real passion for good healthy food and community. It’s a bonus that she’s from Ecuador so we can chat in Spanish sometimes when we get together.


If you live in the NE Ohio area, I highly recommend visiting Martha’s farm and getting your Thanksgiving turkey from her. Her smoked turkeys are to die for. I don’t even like turkey and I ordered an extra one for our freezer!

Martha is a Quechua Indian from Ecuador, so she’s fascinating to talk to. She’s had so many wonderful life experiences and loves to share them. I’m hoping to get over to the week after Thanksgiving to help her write down her story. Mr Chiots and I would also love to make a documentary about her.


This is what I love about local eating. One of my favorite things to do is to head out to the farms and get to know who’s growing the things I eat. There’s nothing better than finding someone who is as passionate as you about good quality food.

Do you have a favorite local farm?

Back in Business

October 3rd, 2012

We’re back in business as far as our raw milk is concerned. Luckily it’s much easier to come by in Maine that in Ohio. Back in Ohio, we were lucky that our dairy farm was only a few miles away, though I would have driven a long way to get milk from them. They stocked us up with lots of milk before we left and we were on our last jar.

I had a list of farms to call and visit, but then our neighbor gave me the name of a friend who does dairy on a small scale. We headed down the road yesterday to see her cows and chat with her. She has 3 Jersey cows that she milks. The dry periods are staggered throughout the year so she’s always milking 2 cows.

They were out frolicking in the 40 acres of pasture. In fact we weren’t sure if we were going to find them when we first arrived, but they finally came around. One of them thought my camera was a delicious cow treat and kept trying to eat it.

We made it home with a gallon of fresh raw milk. The cows we got milk from back in Ohio were Normandy cows. The Jersey milk is definitely different, much creamier. Milk is one of those funny things you always think it just tastes like milk until you start drinking pastured raw milk. Then you start to notice the changes that come throughout the seasons and from different cows.

Now that we’ve been drinking raw milk for many years I could never go back to the regular stuff. Even when we had to get lightly pasteurized milk from another small local dairy it always tasted boiled and weird to me. I’m happy that we should have enough options here in Maine to have a steady supply of raw milk all year long. Though I must admit, I’ll miss heading out to the farm on Thursdays and my chats with Dawn!

What product do you source locally or make at home that you could never buy the store/processed version again?

Friday Favorite: Our Cow

April 6th, 2012

I’m taking a break from the non-toxic cleaning series because – well, it takes a lot of time to write those posts and because the fact that when raw milk graces my fridge and my coffee once again it’s a source of much celebration here at Chiot’s Run.

Earlier this week, my friendly farmer e-mailed and said they could have fresh real milk for us this week. Why do we not get milk in the winter? Our farmers let their cows go dry in the winter, both for the sake of giving the cows a break, and for the sake of giving themselves a break. Lucky for us, there’s another small local dairy that offers pastured milk, it’s not raw, but it’s lightly pasteurized, the next best thing. It’s good, way better than grocery store milk, but once you’ve had good real fresh milk, everything else pales in comparison.



We dropped everything and went out to the farm to drop off our milk jars. We got to watch as the new calves were fed then our friendly farmers gave us a tour of all the pastures and told us all the cows names. I deemed this one as “The Morris Cow”. Her name is gluey and they were saying she’s homely & ugly, but I think she’s a real beauty.




Here in Ohio it’s illegal to buy raw milk, the only way it’s legal is to drink milk from your own cow. So we own a cow and we pay our friendly farmer to board her for us. We drive the few miles to the farm each week and pick up half gallon mason jars filled with rich creamy goodness. We love how the milk changes throughout the seasons depending on what the cows are eating. Fresh real milk from the farm is a true joy. It’s like most things, when you search out and have the best you really can never settle for anything less! Join me in dancing a little dance because our cups will be overflowing with fresh real milk until this coming December.

What local product are you most happy about when it’s available?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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